Opinion Pieces

Fake news and alternative facts: five challenges for academic libraries



In light of recent worldwide political developments, it seems clear that libraries are needed more than ever to combat a rising tide of fake news and public lies, and to help their patrons discriminate between truth, error and propaganda. In order to do so, however, libraries will have to decide where they stand on crucial questions about the social construction of reality; the politics of selection; the privileging of interpretations; the academic necessity of research access to false claims; and the meaning of ‘alternative’. A library that fails to address these questions carefully, and in advance, is doomed to incoherence in its response to fake news and ‘alternative facts’. 

  • Volume: 30 Issue: 2
  • Page/Article: 4-9
  • DOI: 10.1629/uksg.356
  • Submitted on 4 Apr 2017
  • Accepted on 6 Jun 2017
  • Published on 10 Jul 2017
  • Peer Reviewed